Totem Media has had a presence in China since 1992.  

The Last Governor is a 5-hour television series and book for BBC TV on the handover of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China. The series was broadcast after handover in 1997.

We were subsequently invited to make a dramatised documentary to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the opening of the Forbidden City to the public. The film was broadcast worldwide on the Discovery Channel in 1994.

Totem’s first cultural history venture in the region was to help establish an archive of Hong Kong’s history. By collecting and digitising film, photographs and important historical papers Totem initiated the collection and electronic repatriation of aspects of Hong Kong’s history from around the globe as a resource for future generations. The William Mong Archive is held at the Hong Kong University library.Another cultural initiative begun by Totem during this period was to support the restoration of cultural heritage sites in China. The China Heritage Fund was established in 1995 and has recently completed the restoration of the pavilion of the Qing Emperor, Qianlong, within the Forbidden City complex in Beijing.

From 1996 to 2000 Totem embarked on a major television documentary series with accompanying books and CD-ROMs. China - the Dragon’s Ascent is about the links between the China of today and Chinese history and civilisation. Totem devised the project, negotiated its making with the Chinese leadership and co-raised the US$7 million budget from donors worldwide to a charitable trust he set up for the purpose.

In 1999 we initiated, and have since been involved in, the collection of a Tibetan oral history. The Tibetan Oral History project is a partnership between Columbia University, New York and Totem Media. Many hundreds of oral histories of both Chinese and Tibetans have been archived in the vaults of Columbia University. This is an ongoing project.



In 2008 Totem Media was the Chinese partner for a major television series, Addicted to Money, a four-way co-production between ABC television in Australia, Channel Four in Britain and PBS in the USA. Addicted To Money explained how and why the financial crisis came about, what it all means for us now, and what we can do to create a more sustainable economy.  This was followed by a two part documentary series entitled Baby Boom to Bust, a look at the world at an extraordinary turning point, where for the first time in history old people will soon outnumber the young.

Totem helped develop the narrative for the new Shanghai History Museum, and the government of the Putuo District in Shanghai consulted us on their plans to establish seven museums to be built along the Suzhou Creek.





Clips of the three films referred to above can be seen by clicking on the links below




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